Monday, March 30, 2009

Palestine 1 - 1 Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan holds Palestine, Nepal crashes out



REPUBLICA
KATHMANDU, March 30


Nepal´s dream of entering the final round of AFC Challenge Cup has all but ended after Kyrgyzstan played a 1-1 draw with Palestine Monday in the last match of the AFC Group ´C´ qualifiers held at the Dasharath Stadium.

With this draw Kyrgyzstan topped the group on numbers of goals scored to qualify for the final round of AFC Challenge Cup to be held in India next year.

All three teams have equal two points after all the matches ended in draw. However, Kyrgyzstan topped the group as it played two 1-1 draws while Nepal and Palestine had played a goalless draw.

Nepal still has a faint chance of advancing as the best runner-up from among the four groups as it finished second ahead of Palestine on superior disciplinary record after being tied even on goal difference and goals scored. But it has to wait for completion of other groups´ qualifiers and hope for a succession of favorable results in those matches.



Murzaev Mirlan of Kyrgyzstan opened the scoring in the 20th minute through a penalty after Harchenko Vadim was brought down by Palestine defender Nadeem Baragouthi at the edge of the box.

Palestine scored the equalizer in the 29th minute through a S Al-Sobakhi header amidst the chaos in the box on a superb cross from F Attal. No other goals were possible in the remaining time of the match though Palestine, which had to win the match to top the group, tried for the winning goal.

Kyrgyzstan coach Anarbek unsatisfied with his team´s performance said that the match was very tough. "Our players were young and inexperienced while the opponents were experienced," Anarbek said. I can't speak for Kyrgyzstan but this is probably the most inexperienced squad we have fielded in a VERY long time

Palestine assistant coach Jamal Daraghmo commented that Kyrgyzstan was lucky to qualify for the final round. "We lost many chances today. Better teams have not qualified for the final round as both Nepal and Palestine were better than Kyrgyzstan," he claimed which seemed fair looking at the performance of teams through three matches and considering the fact that Kyrgyzstan scored both the goals through soft penalties.

Thoughts on Palestine's Challenge Cup Campaign.


Well it's all over and this is what it looked like when the dust settled:

1. KYRGYZSTAN 0-2-0 2-2 2 PTS
2. Nepal 0-2-0 1-1 2 PTS
3. Palestine 0-2-0 1-1 2 PTS


The "Group of Death" lived up to its name... and strangely enough the team that advances could only manage to score from the penalty spot. To be honest, I don't know how the tiebreaker will be decided between Nepal and Palestine, as soon as Kyrgyzstan went ahead from the spot, news sources reported that Nepal had been knocked out, so I'm assuming that the Palestine holds the tie-breaker, whatever it may be (EDIT: Nepal has a better disciplinary record, so they will claim second place). That said, it is a moot point... chances of qualifying for the next round are slim to none. You'd need three second place teams to collect no more than 1 point from the third and first place teams. It's not going to happen and holding out for hope will result in supreme disappointment. So for argument's sake let us assume we are out: Here is a rehashing of the positives and negatives of this campaign.

POSITIVES

- These results were obtained with a weakened squad. There are players who earned their first caps for Palestine most notably: Nadim Al-Barghouthi, Khader Yousef, Ma'ly Kaw'reh, and lone goalscorer Saeed Al-Sobakhi. Successful teams can draw from a large pool of experienced players, this campaign helped us blood in some new players.

-This camp built on the first complete West Bank Premier League in years. It gave many domestically based players much needed experience. There were only 4 foreign based players in this squad: Ahmed Keshkesh, Fahed Attal, Roberto Bishara and Majed Abusidu.

-We didn't lose on hostile territory, perhaps not the biggest positive... but hey we are ranked 174 in the world that should at least boost us up in the standings.

NEGATIVES

-Player Selection: Why on earth we played Abusidu as a holding mid is beyond me... we needed to call up some foreign-based players to fill that void. There was also a lack of width, which could have beey remedied with Fadi Salim or Imad Zaatara. I'm all for giving new players chances... but how many games do we play a year? Not many, so we might as well field a full strength squad in our only two competitive matches.

- The influence of the Jordanian FA: They appointed the coach and quite frankly had some serious influence on player selection. Sharif Adnan was not allowed to play for us and Fadi Lafi wasn't released from Shabab Al-Ordon. I can't really criticize Izzat Hamzeh, because I didn't see these two matches, but his backing down from the Adnan situation proves he isn't his own man.

- Apparently we blew a small fortune on preparations: 200,000 USD!

Coming up next.... Where do we go from here

LIVE BLOGGING: Palestine vs. Kyrgyzstan

Can't provide specifics, but at halftime the score stands at 1-1. Kyrgyzstan went ahead thanks to a penalty by Murzaev Mirlan in the 21st. 7 minutes later Saed Al-Sobakhi in his first start for Palestine and only his second official cap fired Al-Fursan back into the game.

THE SECOND HALF BEGINS

Nothing new to report... this has to be the most frustrating way to follow a football game.

30 minutes until full-time... win and you're in scenario. A scoring draw of 2-2 or more would leave us with only a glimmer of hope at being the best 2nd place team. But let's channel all our energy into getting a winner.

20 minutes... Wouldn't it be great to get a goal in the dying seconds of the game? That would be true poetic justice for our 2006 defeat.

84' Yellow cards are being handed out for time-wasting, looks like Kyrgyzstan is squeezing the life out of this one.

FT: 1-1. Ouch. More to follow later....

Monday March 30th: Palestine And Kyrgyzstan Face Off in Decisive Encounter


In light of the 1-1 draw between Nepal and Kyrgyzstan, the final match of the group between Palestine and Kyrgyzstan will prove to be the decider. The Palestinians need a win to secure a spot in the AFC Challenge Cup final tournament and any draw other than 0-0 will suffice for Kyrgyzstan.
This is not the first time the two teams will meet, they already played out a quarterfinal match in the inaugural AFC Challenge Cup three years ago in Dhaka. Kyrgyzstan won that match with a last minute goal to end it 0-1, sending a worn out Palestinian squad out of the tournament after its strong start.
The opening match of this group saw Palestine take on group hosts Nepal in what was expected to be a rather one sided match but the Nepalese proved pundits wrong with a strong display threatening to score on a number of occasions. Though the match ended scoreless, the performance motivated the Nepalese squad to unleash an onslaught in their second match of the group vs Kyrgyzstan. In front of thousands of homefans they took the lead in the second minute and missed a number of opportunities to increase it. To their dismay, Kyrgyzstan was awarded a penalty in the 86th minute when Biraj Maharajan, the player who put Nepal in the lead, mishandled the ball in the penalty box. Murzaev Mirlan equalised from the spot and thats how the match ended.
Since the day after the Nepal match, the national team has been training daily and studying videos of the match to analyze mistakes. Palestine players and coaching staff watched the Nepal-Kyrgyzstan match from the stands of the Dashrath Rangasala to gain insight into their opponent. According to Ashraf Matar, the reporter embedded with the squad, the Kyrgyz team appeared sluggish and couldn't keep pace through the whole match. But nonetheless, Kyrgyzstan should not be underestimated. Recall their slow start to the tournament in 2006 when they lost to Pakistan in their opening match only to later defeat Tajikstan and Palestine.
Ezzat Hamzah is expected to field an offensive formation as a win is the only result that will see Palestine go through.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

All To Play For as Kyrgyzstan Escapes with Point


Taken from Myrepublica.com



REPUBLICA
KATHMANDU, March 28:
Profligate Nepal was made to pay by Kyrgyzstan in a game decided by two soft goals at the Dasharath Stadium Saturday putting Nepal´s hopes of advancing through the AFC Challenge Cup Group ‘C’ qualifiers in jeopardy.

Nepal took lead in bizarre circumstances through an unthreatening freekick from 40 yards by Biraj Maharjan in the second minute but conceded a soft penalty through the goalscorer in the 85th that undid all the domination Nepal enjoyed in the match that could easily have been won 5-0 on another day.

Nepal now has to depend on the result of the last match between Palestine and Kyrgyzstan to be held Monday to reach the final round of the Challenge Cup to be held in Hyderabad, India next year.

Nepal, that played a goalless draw against Palestine on Thursday, can advance as group winner only if Palestine and Kyrgyzstan play a goalless draw because of its better disciplinary record as the tournament rules consider disciplinary records when two teams are tied on points, goal difference and goals scored. All other possible results will go against Nepal which can then only advance as the best runner-up in the four qualifying groups.

The winner of the last match shall advance to the final round as group winner and any goalscoring draw will see Kyrgyzstan advance on higher number of goals scored.
Nepal took an early lead through Biraj Maharjan´s seemingly harmless 40-yard freekick that was somehow allowed to go into the net by the careless defense line and flatfooted Kyrgyz custodian Matiash Pavel. Nepal was awarded with the freekick after Kyrgyzstan skipper Sydykov Rulsan brought down Jumanu Rai near the center line.

The host backed by thousands of supporters could not hold on to the lead throughout the match as it conceded the equalizer five minutes from time through a penalty from Murzaev Mirlan after Biraj Maharjan was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the box.
Likewise Jumanu spurned a golden chance on the hour mark as he tried to take on the sole defender himself instead of passing to his free strike partner Anil Gurung at the edge of the box on a move initiated by Chetan Ghimire.

Anil showed Jumanu how to pass the ball selflessly two minutes later setting him up beautifully inside the box but Jumanu missed from a close range. One minute later Bijay Gurung failed to score from the same position with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Nepal was unlucky in the 66th minute also as a low goalbound shot by Bijay Gurung rebounded from near the goalline hitting Santosh Sahukhala who had gone down in front of the goal.

Similarly in the 90th minute, Bijay’s fierce shot from inside the box hit the crossbar after taking fingertips of the goalkeeper.

Kyrgyzstan also made a host of post attempts but none were as threatening as the ones made by Nepal in that four-minute stretch after the hour mark. Murzaev Mirlan’s powerful shot in the 10th minute deflected after hitting the crossbar. Nepali goalie Bikash Malla punched a Zemlianuhin Anton shot off a short pass from Bokoev on a freekick.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Win on Monday, And Forget All About the Nepal Match

A look at the 'predictions' thread on kooora-Palestine in the days leading up to the Nepal match, you would see huge scorelines predicted in favor of our national team. As expected, the scoreless result changed the mood completely and there is a huge air of pessimism among the Palestinian fanbase.
The whole reasoning behind the optimistic predictions was our generally better record than Nepal's in international matches. Thats it, simply, we are better on paper. But theres a saying: football isn't played on paper, its played on grass. This holds entirely true here, a combination of Nepals good defense, home fans and general climate made all that superiority on paper disappear.
According to the press release from the reporter embedded with the National Team, the players entered the match somewhat nervous. Logically, you would expect them to feel that way as it was the opening qualifier in a hostile stadium. Right now the fans are also nervous, but this isnt the time for it. In these short burst tournaments, the important thing is to keep a cool head and not let a bad result bring you down, especially when the chances of qualifying are really not affected. I hope Ezzat Hamzah is telling the players exactly that.

Post-Match Reaction

Taken from the Himalayan Times

Ritesh Rijal
Kathmandu, March 27:

Spirited Nepali national team were forced to share a point after a goalless draw against the physically-superior Palestine at the AFC Challenge Cup Group 'C' qualifying match here at the Dasharath Stadium on Thursday.
The result meant both the teams have chances to qualify for the finals. Nepal will next play Kyrgyzstan on Saturday while Palestine take on the same opponent two days later. Winners of the each of the four qualifying groups including one best runners up team will advance to the eight-team finals. Defending champions India, Tajikistan and DPR Korea are drawn directly into the finals, slated for India next year.
The home team, whose morale was high after their recent PM Cup Invitational Tournament victory here, entirely dominated the field in the first half. New Road Team (NRT) striker Anil Gurung squandered a golden opportunity side-netting a cross from Vijay Gurung in the 13th minute. Defender Sagar Thapa also shot on target only to be denied by Palestine goalkeeper M Shbair six minute later.
Nepal goalkeeper Bikash Malla thwarted a rare Palestine attack blocking Alamour Ismail's strike in the 26th minute. Nepal Police Club striker Ju Manu Rai was also unlucky in the 24th minute when his shot from inside the box was blocked by defender N Baraghtha.
After the break, Palestine twice threatened the Nepali goal only to be denied by man of the match Malla. The Tribhuvan Army Club custodian made a brilliant save denying Palestine skipper Ahmed Keshkesh in the 53rd minute. Fahad Attal forced Malla to another equally good save in the 65th minute.
The best chace of the game came Nepal's way in the 72nd minute when the home team earned a free kick just outside the D-box after Palestine goalkeeper was adjudged to have crossed the line with the ball but Ju Manu Rai's powerful shot hit the woodwork.
Palestine's Jordanian coach Izzat Hamzeh blamed the unfriendly weather and hard turf for his team's lackluster performormance. He also expressed dissatisfaction over the refeering decisions. "We were playing against 14 opponents -- 11 Nepali players, weather, rough ground and official," he said. "They (Nepal) played better football but it was our worst ever performance," said Palestine skipper Keshkesh. Keshkesh also said that cautiousness over the rough turf also hampered their game.
Nepal coach Yogamber Man Suwal was happy with the way his boys played. "You don't get too many chances in such a high-profile game and we missed too many on Thursday," added Suwal. Suwal said there was nothing alarming about the injury carried by skipper Rakesh Shrestha and midfielder Sandeep Rai. "Sandeep can play next match and hopefully Rakesh will also be fit to play against Kyrgyzstan," said Suwal.
Rakesh was replaced by defender Deepak Bhusal after the skipper sustained knee injury in the 55th minute, while striker Santosh Shahukhala came in place for Sandeep in the 73rd minute. "We played better but luck deserted us," said skipper Rakesh referring to the missed opportunites. He also said that they had tough time piercing through the physically superior opponents.

Tie-breaker Scenario



After doing some reading, it seems that in order to determine the best 2nd place team only results against the top 3 teams in the group will be taken into consideration. I would stress however, that this changes absolutely nothing... it is still a win or go home against Kyrgyzstan, a wildly unpredictable team. With very little English language resources its hard to make any predictions, but all of us here are pulling for another scoreless draw tomorrow when the Kyrgyz face Nepal.

Palestine 0 - 0 Nepal




Hard to really give decent commentary about the match, many of us were put in the wrong kind of mood when every Nepalese television station decided to broadcast horse racing instead of the match. That said, in case you haven't heard the match ended in a disappointing 0-0 draw. According to coach Izzat Hamzeh, this was the worst performance the team gave under his tenure. This draw puts more pressure on the team to win its final game against Kyrgyzstan. It is a win and you're in scenario and we shall be hoping that Nepal do us a favor and hold Kyrgyzstan to a draw on the 28th as well.



The consensus about today's game was that Nepal punched above their weight to compete with a faster and more physical opponent. Mohammed Eshbair, filling in for Ramzi Saleh, made several key saves. Nepal played short passes, while the Palestinians favored a long-ball approach. Despite the disappointment, qualification (with a three team group) was always going to come down to beating Kyrgyzstan. Let us hope that this setback will refocus the team.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I should be in bed... but what the hell: LIVE BLOGGING!

First Impressions:

There is a live event being broadcast on Nepalese TV as we speak. Essentially, it is a small military parade and all the head honchos of the Maoist Government are in attendance. If this indeed is the stadium, then dear god... this has to be the worst stadium I have ever seen, this makes Faisal Al-Husseini look like the Santaigo Bernabeu! I'll check back in at kick-off and half-time with my thoughts.

EDIT
This is Horse Racing... Nepali TV is showing horse racing!??!?!? Those are some weak-ass stallions I might add, perhaps we should send them some proper thoroughbreds.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nepal Coach Reacts To Hamzah Comments

We have been hearing sound bytes from our coaching staff and pundits for the past month, why not get the other side of the argument? From GoalNepal.com:
Nepal Coach Yogamber Suwal has started punch-game-show with Palestine Coach saying they could imagine about the selection to the final round, but not in real.
When GoalNepal.com asked Suwal about the statement given by Palestine Coach Hamza about the selection from this qualifying matches, Suwal sarcastically said, "They are challenging the bee hive. You can easily imagine what will happen when you buzz bee hive".
"We have the best team right at the moment", Suwal said, "Thats why we are eying for the final round". "Of course, the match will be tight but I am very optimistic that my charges would display excellent game to select for the final round, Suwal explained when asked him about the superiority of the visiting team.
"We are playing at home ground. Thousands of crowd will support us", Suwal added, "That will definitely boost our team to win the matches".


Coach Suwal was responding to the optimistic comments Hamzah has been making in the build up to Thursdays match. Specifically comments Hamzah made in a press conference held in the Kathmandu Grand Hotel,where our national team is staying, in which he expressed full confidence in his squad's ability to qualify to the finals.
In previous comments to the press Suwal, while stressing his confidence in his teams goalkeeping and defense, expressed concern over his offensive line.

Afghanistan Withdraws from AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers



TheAfghanistan FA have informed the AFC that they will not be participating in Challenge Cup Qualifiers this week. As a result Al-Fursan will only be playing two matches, against Nepal on the 26th and against Kyrgyzstan on the 30th.

This has some implications for qualifying, because there are less teams, there are less point to go around in our group. Meaning that topping the group is virtually the only route to the finals. I personally think that each team in the group should be awarded 3 points in order to level the playing field, but knowing the AFC they aren't open to logical thinking and good ideas.

In any case, we are sorry that the Afghan team couldn't make the trip, we have experienced such angst before with our own national team. To not play, is worse than crushing defeat. Best of luck to the Afghanistan National Team in the future.

Decision Day Beckons for Palestinian NT



Well, it is just about 24 hours until kick-off of one of the most important football games in Palestine's short (FIFA affiliated) history. I am not one for hyperbole, but I feel that this tournament will set the tone for Palestinian football going forward. Under Alferd Riedl and Azmi Nasar Palestinian football gained credibility on the pitch. Not only was the team adept at defending draws and slender leads but it could also compete with any number of teams in the region playing POSITIVELY. After setting the world alight at the innaugural AFC Challenge Cup in 2006 with attacking and skillful play which saw 11-0 and 4-0 routs of Guam and Cambodia, respectively, the future seemed bright. There was also a promising Asian Cup Qualification campaign where Palestine managed a 1-0 win over Singapore and a 2-2 draw against eventual champions Iraq.

In an almost sudden an abrupt manner, the political situation, as it so often does threw a wrench in the Palestinian's quest for World Cup glory. Preparations for the World Cup qualifier were marred by a lack of training time and proper preparation. To make matters worse, several players, including captain Saeb Jendeya were refused travel permits by the Israeli authorities. The lack of fitness, preparation, and general teamwork showed as Palestine crashed to a 4-0 defeat in Qatar at the hands of Singapore. The return leg was never played, as a whopping 15 domestic players were barred from traveling to Singapore. The following year, Palestine played a mere two matches against Iran and Iraq in the WAFF Championship lacking offensive prowess but by no means spirit they fell 2-0 and 1-0 respectively. In 2008, Palestine again participated in the WAFF Championship, but could not manage a goal falling 1-0 and 3-0 to Qatar and Iran.

After two years of no goals and no points, it felt that Palestinian Football was regressing but the latter months of 2008 brought hope. Ramzi Saleh, the national team goalkeeper, was signed by Egyptian giants Al-Ahly. CD Palestino of the Chilean Primer League reached the Apertura final. And of course, a new stadium, built to FIFA standards was to open up on Palestinian soil and a full international would be played against arch-rival Jordan. That game, as we all know, ended in a 1-1 draw with Ahmad Keshkesh opening the scoring on a slick counter-attack and cool finish that sent the 8,000 person crowd into utter delirium. That goal, and that result proved that we could play football in a positive manner and hang with any team on the Asian continent. I am confident, that the next week will bring all of us fans much joy, win, lose or draw. We are all on the edge of our seats waiting in anticipation, because it seems that big things are in store for our beloved Fursan.

Online Streaming of Nepal 1

Heres a link.
Note that there is also a link on the page for 'Nepal TV'. No telling on which channel, if any, the game will be broadcast.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Tribute to Azmi Nassar


This tribute to a great man was in the works for a while but upon noting that Palestines qualifier vs Nepal on Thursday coincides with his death anniversary, I decided it would only be appropriate to publish it.

Azmi Nassar hailed from Nazareth and would be considered an "Israeli Arab". As a player he played professionally for a series of top division Israeli clubs including Hapoel Haifa and he went on to coach various Arab football clubs that play in various divisions of Israeli football.
Azmi took on coaching the Palestinian national team soon after its reaffiliation with FIFA in 1998 leading it to its only title to date, the bronze medal in the 1999 Arab Games in Amman, Jordan.
He returned to coach the national team in 2005 with the specific goal of getting Palestine to qualify for the 2007 Asian Cup. During his tenure, Azmi Nassar brought new talent into the squad which he was able to scout by traveling between the West Bank and Gaza. Perhaps most significantly, he could be credited with calling up a young Fahed Attal from Islami Qalqilya.
Azmi was diagnosed with a muscular disorder and in 2006 as his health started to deteriorate he handed over the coaching duties to Thomas Viczko. In early 2006, Palestine had two Asian Cup qualifier matches vs Singapore and China. Azmi did not travel with the team to China and no one assumed he would attend the Singapore match which was going to be played in Amman. But he surprised everyone and announced he would make the trip in a show of support for the players. This proved a real morale booster as Palestine outplayed the South East Asian Champions with none other than Azmi's pick Fahed Attal coming in late in the game to score the winner.
I was lucky to see Azmi Nassar once. In August 2006 I happened to be in Jordan and attended Palestines Asian Cup qualifier match against Iraq in the Amman suburb of Kweismeh. At half time the crowd chanted 'Azmi Nassar' repeatedly. Looking down towards the bench I saw a frail looking Azmi get up and wave to the crowd. As I recall he was wearing a wool hat and a jacket even though it was a summer night.
His health got only worse and on March 26 2007, we were hit hard by the news that Azmi Nassar had a stroke and passed away in Nazareth. A massive procession marked his funeral in his hometown.
The annual Azmi Nassar Award is given to the best 'Professional' Palestinian player by the kooora-Palestine fan forum. But I am hoping for a bigger recognition on the official level such as the PFA naming a stadium after him or marking his contribution to Palestinian football in some other way befitting him.

In the meantime, let us dedicate Thursday's match to the late Azmi Nassar and his family.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Countdown has Begun

There are only days left before Palestine's long anticipated opening Challenge Cup qualifier match against group hosts Nepal. The preparation has been long and exhaustive and we are yet to see if it will all payoff. After successive training camps in Ramallah, Amman and Dubai, the squad(except for Fahd Attal who will catch up) took off for Kathmandu on Saturday from Dubai going through Doha, Qatar.
The Palestinian press' mood ranges from cautious to optimistic. Ashraf Matar, the reporter embedded with the national team, reports that the morale in the camp is high. The majority of the squad play in the domestic league. Foreign league players include Roberto Bishara of Palestino Santiago in Chile, Majed Abu Sido of Salmiya in Kuwait, Fahd Attal who plays for Jazira in Jordan and national team captain Ahmed Keshkesh who just recently moved to Jordan's Shabab Al-Ordon.
There have been no past first-team encounters between Nepal and Palestine however they have played on the olympic level(Palestine winning). If we look at the two team's international records, Palestine clearly has the upper hand, however that doesnt put us in the clear. Thursday's match will be a real mental test playing against the hosts in the 25,000 seater Dasarath Rangasala Stadium.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Fab Four


Taken at the national teams match against AlRams in the current UAE camp.
The middle four in the back row....thats the defense line I want to see.

Abu Sido - Bahdari - Abdul Jawad - Bishara

Friday, March 13, 2009

Who next??

Ever since October(when Palestinian football got wide international attention), the PFA through its website and media releases has been bringing up the possibility of friendlies with some country or another. We first heard of New Zealand wanting to play Palestine in AlRam, no word on that since. Recently the Ukrainian consul to the Palestinian authority said he would talk to the Ukranian FA about arranging a friendly. The PFA boldly reported it as if a "historic match between the two sides" was definitely going to take place.
Now its reported that we will face Chechnya(not recognized by FIFA). Whats worth noting about all these announcements is that they all came after official meetings between politicians. The Chechnya friendly was announced after Mahmoud Abbas' visit over there.
One has to ask if these are just empty political gestures. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Must have been something I ate before sleeping

I had a bizarre dream today. It went like this: I was hanging out with some friends when one suggested to play some football up in Mount Everest. After driving up there(bear with me its a dream), we arrive at this little football field and start kicking a ball around. I had some difficulty breathing while playing and remembered that the air is thin all the way up here.
So I woke up an hour before my alarm went off and proceeded to try to go back to sleep. My mind wandered and quickly made the connection between the Himilayas and Nepal. I thought, man, the NT boys are going to have to get accustomed to that climate. Kathmandu is in fact 1400m above sea level. Palestine is roughly a little above sea level. Yes FIFA set the limit at 2500m but still the leap to 1400 could have an effect. I could be wrong, I didnt research air density Im just typing from the gut. Last I checked we'll have a one week training camp in Nepal...hope thats enough to acclimatize

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ramzi Saleh a hit @ Ahli

I've always said Ramzi was world class. Hes pretty much taken over as starter goal keeper at his new club, Ahli FC of Egypt. Chances are this means they would be less willing to let him go join the national team at the end of the month. Whatever the case, best of luck to our star keeper. Heres a youtube clip of his saves in the last match vs Petrol Asyot:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Jordan training camp call-up list

Domestic league players(23):
Abdullah AlSaidawi, Asim Abu Asi, Mohammed Eshbair(Goalkeepers)
Mohamed AbdulJawad, Samer Hijazi, Ammar Abu Sleisel, Mustafa Abu Kweik, Khadr Yousef, Ma'aley Kawre'a, Ashraf No'man, Ismail Amour, Shaadi A'lan, Saeed Sobakhi, Mohamad Ashour, AbdulLatif Bahdari, Nadim Barghouthi, Sameeh Yousef, Ayman Hindi, Hisham Salhi, Mustafa Kan'an, Ma'en Obeid, Ahmad 'Alan, Ahmad Abu Thaher

Foreign league players(7):
Roberto Bishara, Ramzi Saleh, Fadi Lafi, Fahd Attal, Ahmad Keshkesh, Majed Abu Sido, Shareef Adnan

(Atlassport)

According to the sqaud list, our defence and forwards are excellent, but we lack in the midfield. Ezzat could have called up an experienced midfielder like Mohamed Samara, or at least gave Roberto Katlun a shot.